Autumn is here and Sven Van Moen got the tips for a succesful catfishing trip.
Two weeks ago the sun was shining bright and the river water was still warm on my favorite big river in the South of France. We still have not had heavy rain, so the water level is at it’s lowest and the water very clear. Despite these rather bad conditions, the daylength is quickly getting shorter and the water temperature is dropping too, which could activate some catfish as they start preparing for winter time. Autumn at its best.
After two short sessions with only one nice fish on the bank, I had no big reason to complain. But as I was thinking about the actual weather and river conditions, I realised that one single fish is not the result we aim for when we are talking about real active fish. I decided to check out my luck on a rather not so typical spot for this period of the year. It was a very shallow sand bank with heavy current, but with deep water nearby. On arrival I soon noticed quite some baitfish and even a catfish surfacing above the shallow bank. This looked promising and I nervously set up the rods and rigs.
Not quite as one would expect during autumn, I prepared two A-STATIC hairrigs plus two bouys and fished these rods on the 1m – 2m shallow bank with surface livebaits. With the third rod I still fished the deeper parts with a subfloat rig. Minutes after the last rod was put, one of the bouy rods bended over and I was already playing a very decent catfish. Half an hour later, the same rod went off again, with a smaller fish as result. The activity on the shallows continued and I was very satisfied having caught four cats from five bites in one evening, although there where no real giants amongst them. One take came from the deeper water. All other from the shallows. I was surprised and pleased at the same time.
Two days later I was back with the same plan, wondering if it would work again. The first two hours no action at all. Then a small fish on the shallows. Immediately followed by its little brother. Still no big ones though. I was thinking, when suddenly I noticed a rod bending over so slowly, that even the alarm bells did not make a single sound. No doubt possible: here was my chance to catch a big one! I played the fish in a close combat from the boat, so I minimised the risk of touching any underwater snags with the line. The white deluxe G2 rod and Quick combat 10000 reel did their job splendid and fifteen long minutes later the fish surrendered. I sailed my boat about 500m upstream, back to the camp and the other rods. Arriving there, the fairytail continued, as I could instantly restart playing an other smaller cat.
Autumn fishing at it’s best. Real autumn glory. And I was shining bright. As you are getting to read this, I’m off again, back too my fairy tell forest and my beloved catfish.
Tight lines too all of you!
Sven’s Gear list
Rod: MADCAT White Deluxe G2 275 cm
Reel: Quick Combat 10000
Hairrig setup: Madcat Cat Cable (160kg), Madcat A-STATIC jighook 6/0 and 8/0, Madcat Power BB Swivel.
By Sven Van Moen
Last week I went on a two day fishing tour. The river is low, the water clear, which make the fishing itself, very difficult. That is why I should think carefully about the tactical side of the game. The technical side is not all that complicated during low water level periods: even fishing from the bank can be very effective in these conditions. The subfloat- and breakline fishing can be done by doing short range fishing. This was also the perfect conditions for testing my new reel reel for light and short range breakline fishing. Not long ago, I received the Quick I 8000FD and this was the perfect opportunity to test it.
The evening before, I was catching very good baitfish in a shallow region without current. Normally, this is not the best tactic, but the huge amount of baitfish made me decide to give it a try anyways. Where there is baitfish, there are cats! I set up three freestyle breakline rigs and was hopefull, especially because there where more baitfish then I have ever seen before. I caught bait all the time, but the catfish rods remained silent for the whole night. The break of dawn came, and I was trying to make a decision where to go now. I had no idea. I fired up my boat and started sailing. After a few kilometers I noticed a spot. Because of the low water level, I noticed a sudden drop off in the margins. Where everything always seemed to be flat for several hundreds of meters, all of a sudden the bottom drops. Inspection made clear that this could well be a hotspot, since the drop-off was huge.
Full of hope, I set up two big fish subfloat rigs. These I make with the Ultra Soft Leader Mono in 1,30mm. I used two subfloats (40g + 20g), because I was fishing really big livebaits up to 3kg in deep water in the current. The bait presentation of a livebait is way better with several small combined subfloats. As always I chose the a-static jighook for tying the hairrigs. I placed both rigs on the foot of the drop-off to 8m depth and both within 150m of each other. The rods I prefer for subfloat fishing have to be a little bit more flexible than for breakline fishing. That’s why I chose the White Deluxe G2 for subfloat fishing and the splendid Commando for breakline fishing.
The third rod I fished with a bouy, placed in very shallow water (2m) and fishing in the surface with a 2kg carp on a stinger rig i made with the cat cable and a a-static classic catfish hook and stingerhook in the size 6/0. Tactically, this is a much more varied set-up, than I had the night before. Only thing that made me doubt was that I did not notice any baitfish here.
Just before dark, a big school of mullet came in and it made me feel more confident than. Minutes later, I had a huge take on one of the subfloat rigs. This started a long and tough battle. By the time the fish was tired, it was dark . I put on my headlights and I couldn’t believe my eyes. And then…
Another take, but on the bouy rod. Who would have believed this? Two totally different set-ups, and a double hook up on both set-ups! When the fish got closer I lighted up my headlamp. I could not believe my own eyes. One more gigantic catfish played in front of me. I was completIy exhausted – Not physically, but mentally from this overwhelming experience. I did not fish anymore that night. I was satisfied beyond imagination.
In the morning I prepared for the camera for a photo session. I did so all alone, with only my two dogs to share this moment with me. I enjoyed this moment more than ever, here on my favourite big river.
I wish you this same experience and adventure. For me this are moments I will never ever forget.
Greetings and fish on!
Sven Van Moen, shows us how to get down with the cats in this summer heat. This is how it is done!
After a short midsummer break I was pleased to get back too the big river in the south of France. Especially because I really love summer breakline fishing, even though summer isn’t always the best fishing season.
I know catfish can be quite difficult during summer heat. Very often they are inactive during daytime and only go hunting at evening and during the night. Since I was fishing a two day session and I wanted to spread my chances by day and by night, it seemed obvious to choose a spot where I can both fish holding areas and feeding areas.
On arrival we had typical weather for the south off France: blistering heat all day long. The water temperature let no doubt about it: at 25 C we have a true summer fishing situation. The amount off natural food in the river is very high during summer, so it’s important to take great care of the bait and the presentation.
Fishing all alone means even more time needed to get the rods in, but the time seemed well spent: I had two takes during daytime and two other by night. This resulted in two catfish on the bank. The other two I missed. This happens because I often fish hair rigs in order to hurt the baitfish the less possible and keeping it lively and well even after several hours on the hook.
By this mean it sometimes happens that the catfish takes the baitfish without inhaling it, and when this concerns a rather small catfish it often does not get hooked. I don’t worry about it because I know my hair rigs are very good ‘big fish’ rigs and they are much more safe aswell for the catfish as the angler himself.
The two fish I actually caught were no monsters, but it proved my plan was working: two takes came by day, on the subfloat rigs I presented in the holding area. The other two takes came by night, surface fishing with breaklines in the feeding area right in the margins. Even without a real monster cat, I enjoyed a great summer session, alone in nature. And for me, that’s what fishing is all about.
I wish the same too all of you. Go, fish, catch and enjoy!